Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today. First, I would like to say that I will share my time with my dear colleague from Gatineau.
As many of our colleagues have said, we will support sending this bill and its budget measures to committee to be more closely studied. However, it is clear that the Standing Committee on Finance will have a great deal of work to do in the coming weeks because this bill, which could be considered yet another omnibus bill, contains a number of clauses regarding taxes for individuals, businesses, and different levels of government.
Bill C-47, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 4, 2010 and other measures, would implement certain measures. It is true that the Bloc Québécois rejected the latest Conservative budget because it was unfair to Quebec. This government gave tax breaks to the oil companies and heavily subsidized the auto industry in Ontario at the expense of the forestry industry in Quebec, which was experiencing a major crisis. For these reasons, and many others, we voted against this budget. Since 2006, this government has done essentially the same thing as the Liberals. Unfortunately, it forgets about the least fortunate members of society.
A close look at these measures makes it clear that the government is still subsidizing industries and banks that are making billions and billions of dollars in profit and putting their money into tax havens around the world without necessarily paying taxes. And what did the last budget do about it? The government brags about cutting corporate taxes and about giving companies tax breaks. At the same time, it continues to steal money that belongs to the unemployed, as it has done for years. That word has serious implications, but sometime words like that need to be used in the hopes of waking the Liberals and Conservatives up. Nearly $60 billion has been pillaged from the employment insurance fund. Yet the last budget contained no help for the unemployed and no employment insurance support for people who lose their jobs.
During the last crisis in my riding of Berthier—Maskinongé, a crisis that hit the rest of Quebec and Canada as well, numerous people lost their jobs. Many of them came to our constituency offices because they did not have enough hours to qualify for employment insurance. There were young people who were in their first job. They worked 15 weeks in seasonal jobs. They did not have enough hours to qualify for employment insurance. What can we say to these young people and these workers? In Quebec, we told them to go to social assistance for support because they were not eligible for employment insurance, to which they had been contributing, some of them for their whole lives.
And what about the employment insurance fund? There was a $55 billion surplus. The surplus disappeared with the last budget. The Liberals and Conservatives were complicit because they knew they were both in the same boat. They simply decided to spend the surplus. There is nothing left. They have told the unemployed that they cannot help them. It is shameful to have so little empathy for the least fortunate in our society.
We see the same insensitivity when it comes to the guaranteed income supplement for seniors. Yesterday, the Bloc Québécois presented petitions with thousands of signatures from FADOQ, a Quebec seniors' organization, calling on the government to improve the guaranteed income supplement and pay the people who have not received their supplement. FADOQ is also asking that people be registered automatically for the guaranteed income supplement and that it be paid automatically. It is simple. The government has tax data and could automatically pay low-income seniors the supplement. But there is no will. The government has no money for seniors.
The government is investing billions of dollars in weapons, billions of dollars in oil companies that are making a fortune, and billions of dollars in other initiatives. It is investing outrageous amounts of money in the rich and famous and institutions like the banks that have huge sums of money stashed in tax shelters.
We are talking about people, children and families. Quebec is in the midst of a heated debate about whether health care should be privatized. We need money. Quebec needs larger transfer payments for its health care system.
Yesterday, I listened to the debate, and equalization came up. Quebec was described as a have-not province that needed a certain amount of equalization. But the government is investing $20 billion in weapons and giving oil companies huge tax breaks. This money, which is given away and does not come back as tax revenue, cannot be redistributed. These exorbitant amounts are not factored into equalization.
A sovereign Quebec could control its own tax revenue and its own economic, political and social levers. Yesterday, during a speech here on the budget, one member said that a sovereign Quebec would not be viable because Quebec currently receives equalization. I do not think a sovereign Quebec would choose to invest billions in F-35s. Because of its ideological bent, this government is aggressive when it comes to military spending.
I see a member from Quebec entering the House. I would ask her—and the government members—to think about Quebec's social democratic values when she votes; to think about the people in her riding who need support, especially unemployed workers and seniors. She should be asking her government to increase health and education transfers, instead of investing in budgets dedicated to fighter planes, and in services and tax breaks that only help the wealthiest people in our society. That is the usual approach taken by this government: always reducing corporate taxes, increasing fees and cutting social services that help people in need.
At this time, the President of the United States is making huge efforts. He is aggressively attacking tax shelters. He wants to raise corporate taxes, because nearly 50 million Americans do not have health care. Here, the Conservatives are doing the opposite.
In the last budget, when the government decided to invest money to help the economy, the media and environmental experts alike, and everyone really, said that in addition to helping our workers more, the budget could have also included a green shift, an ecological shift. The Conservatives could have used that money to transform our economy into a green economy. What they did instead was to continue investing in dirty energy and continue more or less with the same old approach, that is, supporting the banking system and corporations. There was no shift.
In closing, I would like to say that Bill C-47, like budget 2010, completely disregards the economic situation Quebeckers find themselves in. It is high time for parliamentarians to address the real needs of Quebeckers and all Canadians.